Josh interviews Sheila Vakharia of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of Academic Engagement about Harm Reduction.

Full Episode



A full PDF transcript of Decarceration Nation Episode 36.

My Guest

Sheila Vakharia of the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of Academic Engagement

Sheila P. Vakharia is an expert in Harm Reduction, she received her Master’s in Social Work from Binghamton University and a Post-Master’s Certificate in the Addictions from New York University. She worked for several years as a social worker in both traditional abstinence-only outpatient settings and at a syringe exchange where she provided counseling using a harm reduction approach. During that work the dearth of substance use content and harm reduction information in social work programs led her to pursue her PhD in Social Welfare at Florida International University’s School of Social Work.

She holds a Certificate of Human Rights and Drug Policy at Central European University in Budapest. She wrote a paper writing a report summarizing Civil Society input for the preparations leading up to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in 2016…and she now works at the Drug Policy Alliance as a self-described in-house nerd in their Office of Academic Engagement.

Notes From Episode 36

The News

The first Symposium of the University of Michigan’s Carceral State Project was amazing. If you want to dig through to find my question, I believe you can find it at about 1:08.

Here is the flier:

The University of Michigan Carceral State Project Flier

There is also a video of the Friends of Restorative Justice Washtenaw County event I spoke at several weeks ago. Check it out, I start speaking around 1:02.

David LeGrand event, Friends of Restorative Justice Washtenaw County

Also, you can check out all of my Orange Is the New Recaps here including Season 6 Episode 11.

Sheila Vakharia and Harm Reduction

Sheila’s most recent article about harm reduction is:

Starting Where the Client Is: Harm Reduction Guidelines for Clinical Social Work Practice

And a large number of her other publications can be found at her website.


The older Stanford piece on drugs is from an online course book.

CATO is surprisingly good on Drug Policy (and several other criminal justice issues).

The Leo Beletsky piece is one of the, in my opinion, best pieces on Opioid policy and on Harm Reduction that I have seen to date.

Josh and Ronald Simpson-Bey of Just Leadership USA at the University of Michigan's Carceral State Symposium

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